Teacher Preparation for CR Teaching
Research by Thomas Dee and Emily Penner of Stanford University has made it clear that culturally responsive teaching (CR) is effective in increasing student achievement. However, its lack of standardized teacher preparation makes it difficult to implement nationwide. According to Education Professor Heather Hill, there is a troubling lack of research on the preparation for teachers to teach CR curriculums (Hill, 2020). In fact, many educators who currently use CR curriculums have had to create that curriculum with little guidance, leading to widely variable CR courses throughout the nation.
Some of these educators are featured in fellow educator Larry Ferlazzo’s blog, which is a compilation of educators’ ideas on how CR teaching should play out in the classroom. The strategies have the themes of centering student experiences, making safe spaces for discussion, asking for student feedback, ensuring classroom materials are culturally diverse, and acknowledging one’s own relationship with race. However, how educators came up with these strategies ranged from personal experience to theory from books (Ferlazzo, 2020). The lack of standardization reinforces that there is no one way to make lessons CR, thus making it even more difficult to teach these lessons.
Implementing CR curriculums nationwide means having educators of various experience levels and comfortability with discussing key topics of these lessons, such as race, teaching those curriculums. Implementing a standard CR curriculum, like what is being done in California with ethnic studies courses through groups such as Ethnic Studies Now, is only half the battle. For its success, educators must be prepared and willing to discuss topics of divide in our society, which can be achieved through standardized and proven-to-be effective educator preparation programs. Thus, once bills for standardized CR curriculums are passed, the community groups who fought for them should also fight for these programs.
Ferlazzo, L. (2020, March 3). Culturally Responsive Instruction Is ‘Not Just About Adding a Hip Hop Song to Your Lesson Hook’ [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org//teachers/classroom_qa_with_larry_ferlazzo/2020/03/culturally_responsive_instruction_is_not_just_about_adding_a_hip_hop_song_to_your_lesson_hook.html
Hill, H. C. (2020, March 6). Culturally Responsive Teaching is Promising. But There’s a Pressing Need for More Research. Education Week, 39(26), 17. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/03/09/culturally-responsive-teaching-is-promising-but-theres.html